Starch Consumption Patterns in Infants and Young Children

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2018 Jun:66 Suppl 3:S39-S41. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001971.


Background: The introduction of starch into an infant's diet is an important milestone in the feeding journey. Intestinal maturity and the presence of digestive enzymes are necessary for the physiologic breakdown of starch and other complementary foods. However, little is known about the consumption patterns of starch containing foods during complementary feeding.

Method: The 2008 Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) is a cross-sectional 24-hour dietary intake survey of a nationally representative sample of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers from birth to 48 months of age. We looked at the age-based prevalence of consumption of starch-containing foods during complementary feeding.

Results: We found that about 90% of infants were consuming starch by 6 and 8.9 months, with less than half of infants being exposed to complementary foods from multiple food groups under 6 months. The most common food source of starch was iron-fortified infant cereals, followed by vegetables and fruits. Rice and oats were the most prevalent cereal types, while sweet potatoes, peas and squash were the most commonly consumed starch-containing vegetables. Bananas were the leading starch-containing fruit that was consumed. Around 9 and 11 months, the prevalence of iron-fortified cereals declined and were replaced with lower iron-containing ready-to-eat cereals. There was also a drop in the prevalence of fruit and vegetable consumption once the infant became a toddler. Most bread products consumed by toddlers were not whole grain, but their cereal choices were often whole grain. Other sources of starch were mixed dishes, which contained grains like bread or pasta combined with other types of foods.

Conclusions: Starch enters the infant's diet around the time of complementary feeding, though earlier exposure may occur from certain carbohydrate components of infant formula. Most infants are exposed to starch from grains, followed by vegetables and fruits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula / chemistry
  • Infant Formula / statistics & numerical data*
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Prevalence
  • Starch / administration & dosage*


  • Starch